Archive for Wednesday, February 26, 2003

BLHS mourns loss of former classmate

February 26, 2003

Unfortunately for students at Basehor-Linwood High School, grieving over the loss of a fallen classmate is a practice they've had before.

But that didn't make matters any easier for students as they were informed Friday morning of the death of 17-year-old Cody Gumm, a student at BLHS last year.

Gumm, who was a junior at Bishop Ward High School, died Friday, Feb. 21, in a two-vehicle accident on Kaw Drive in Kansas City, Kan.

Gumm, whose sister is a senior at BLHS, attended the school last year but transferred to Bishop Ward.

He played soccer at Bishop Ward and was described by school officials as well liked by other students.

News of the accident comes after BLHS students were dealt a similar blow just two years before, when they learned that Marshall Norris, then a junior, was found dead in a vehicle accident in Basehor.

"For us to have two kids in two years for a school our size is pretty tough for the students and the staff," BLHS Principal Bill Hatfield said.

Gumm was the passenger of a blue Cammaro, driven by another Bishop Ward student.

According to KCK police, the Cammaro was traveling eastbound on Kaw Drive at a high speed. The driver of the car drifted to the right shoulder of the road, then came back across the center line, striking a westbound Crown Victoria head on.

Three people were in the Crown Victoria.

The driver of the Cammaro sustained injuries police characterized as non life-threatening.

The three Crown Victoria passengers were taken to area hospitals but their conditions are not available, police said.

Grief counselors were available for students and staff at Bishop Ward and BLHS following the accident Friday.

"As part of the district and building crisis plan, we have a staff that meets and counsels the kids," Hatfield said. "And if we needed to, we could bring in additional people."

Additional counselors were brought in during the Norris accident two years ago.

Norris's body was found Sept. 10, 2001 and students were informed by school officials the following day, the same day of the terrorist attacks.

"It was a tough time for everyone, students and staff," Hatfield said.

But time began to heal wounds then and Hatfield said things have settled down at the school since the initial shock of Gumm's death.

"We're getting a little bit more back to normal," he said.

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